spicy-crusted salmon; slow-roasted fennel


Although they start out in in the northeastern part of the great “Southern Sea”, and not the Atlantic, Salmon fillets, (usually previously-frozen, from Whole Foods) are a reliable alternative when I’m unable to bring home fresh local seafood from the Greenmarket.  I missed my fish monger both on Saturday and today, presumably because the weather over the last few days meant fishing was pretty much out of the question, at least if you weren’t operating from large trawlers.

In picking salmon, I had also decided that it would offer one of the best excuses for serving some of the sturdy root vegetables I’ve been accumulating lately.  Unfortunately there’s a limit to how many I can incorporate in one dish, and tonight I was more interested in using whatever vegetable I had in the crisper that was most likely to spoil soonest.  The pairing of salmon, with a spicy coating, and fennel (which is not even a root), roasted slowly with nothing more than garlic, turned out to be inspired even if it had been determined largely by necessity.

  • a five-ounce fillet of wild Sockeye salmon from Whole Foods, seasoned with salt and pepper, rubbed with a mixture of ground coriander seeds, ground cloves, ground cumin, and grated nutmeg, fried over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side in an enameled, cast iron pan
  • a generous-sized bulb of fennel from Manhattan Fruit Exchange, split into twelve wedges, sautéed in a large iron pan over medium high heat with chiles and fennel seeds until the fennel began to color, then, with garlic added, the heat lowered and the pan covered, cooked for about ten minutes more, stirring occasionally, a generous amount of chopped fennel fronds added at the end [recipe from “Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe”]
  • the wine was a California red, Meiomi Pinot Noir 2012 Santa Barbara/Sonoma/Monterey